WASHINGTON — Yesterday evening, the Trump administration announced it would suspend funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), a move that would be devastating for global health especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. An effective response must be evidence-based and grounded in data; it requires global cooperation and coordination from all countries around the world, especially the United States, which now has the largest number of COVID-19 fatalities.
As the foremost institution for global health research and response, the WHO has a mandate to promote the highest standard of health for all and provide leadership and expertise in the delivery of essential health care, including sexual and reproductive health. Since its founding over 70 years ago, the WHO has led the global response to health emergencies such as tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, Zika, avian influenza, and SARS.
Statement from Monica Kerrigan, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Global:
“As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, we need global cooperation and the leadership of the World Health Organization more than ever. Cutting funding to the WHO undermines global health and endangers the lives of all people, including those living in the U.S. This is not the time for political maneuvering—it is the time for bold leadership and urgent action both globally and locally. Abandoning the foremost institution for global health – a powerhouse of research with decades of experience responding to global pandemics – is shortsighted and devastating. We cannot forget that the fates of the U.S. and the rest of the world are intertwined.”
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has withdrawn from UN agencies. For the past three years, the administration has withheld funding from UNFPA, the principal UN agency providing reproductive health care around the world. And in 2018, the Trump administration withdrew from the Human Rights Council, the UN body charged with protection of global human rights.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
For more than 45 years, Planned Parenthood Global has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world. In partnership with more than 100 organizations across 9 focus countries in Africa and Latin America, we advance the health and rights of young people, women and families, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. Last year, our partners provided over 1.8 million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services. Our unique sustainability model sets us apart, as we empower partners to stand on their own. We help grassroots organizations develop solid reproductive health programs, identify other sources of funding, build their communications and advocacy skills, and develop strategic plans. Planned Parenthood Global is the international arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.